Zoe's Reef - Coralife BioCube 32g + Pro Clear Fishtastic iTank 5g

Zoe’s Reef

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It's official... it's time for a new build thread!!

After a happy two years with my Fluval Evo 13.5g, the pandemic happened... and I decided to move back home while I would be/am working remotely indefinitely. I decided to take advantage of the move and UPGRADE to a Coralife BioCube 32g!!! I know that 32g is still considered a nano, but the combination of size and ease of an AIO tank felt right for me while more than doubling the space of my previous tank.

I am so excited for my BioCube build! Although I still consider myself very much a beginner reefer, I've had two years of saltwater experience to learn and fail and fail and learn, so I'm ready to start this tank right from the very first day. (PREVENTION IS KEY) Don't get me wrong—I absolutely loved my AIO 13.5g for a first tank. I starting with basically zero knowledge and grew my love for the hobby alongside the tank. But, now looking back at what I was doing with the 13.5g, with everything from filtration to stocking to aquascaping, I see SO MANY places for improvement and think that it's pretty cool that in this upgrade I'll get to start off RIGHT, right from the beginning.

My tank is expected to arrive this week... and I've been doing plenty of research and spending (lol) to prepare!

I'll update this thread with EVERYTHING about this build as I go! Crossing my fingers for a leak-free tank... until next time, I'll leave you with some quick brainstorming of a fish stocking list:
- Goby + shrimp pair (not sure which kind of goby yet, had a Randall's in my 13.5g)
- Blenny (tailspot maybe?)
- Clownfish pair (obviously haha)
- Six Line Wrasse (really want one of these!!)
 
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Zoe’s Reef

Zoe’s Reef

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What are your plans for filtration and lighting? Are you planning to have corals? I can’t wait to see what you do with this tank!
I'm going to stick with the stock biocube lighting for now, so my corals will be mostly softies. Although, I am tempted to see what I can do with the stock lighting and monticaps... I think their plates make them such a beautiful coral and I would love to be able to grow them.

For filtration I'll be running a combination of filter floss, purigen, chemipure elite, and matrix for the bio media. Once the tank has cycled, I'll also be setting up a refugium with chaeto.

I'll make more in-depth post with all of my equipment, etc. once I get the tank up and running (hopefully within the next week or so)!
 
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Zoe’s Reef

Zoe’s Reef

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Time for another update!

Getting very close to getting this tank wet, and the day can't come soon enough! All of my equipment has arrived, and the only things left to do are finish my tank stand, and pick up some dry rock. I have a 12.63 lbs. centerpiece rock that I picked up from Preuss Pets in Lansing, MI, and I'm thinking that I'm going to need about 27 more pounds for the tank.

Below you can see my stand! Currently in progress, but getting close to being finished. Still need to add the sides, a shelf, and the door, and finish staining, but I'm super excited about how it's turning out so far. I think that the teal stain will compliment the black of the tank nicely, and it looks underwater-y too. Just the look I'm going for—plus, it should definitely be able to hold the weight of the tank! (The image on the right is the stand in the correct position.)

Image from iOS (1).jpg
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Zoe’s Reef

Zoe’s Reef

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I’ve never seen a real stand before, so I’m excited to see how that turns out. Have you made anymore headway on your stocking list? I saw that you made a thread about it, but I don’t think you ever posted a finalized list.
I'll post more updates once it's finished! Thanks for following along. I've updated my "dream" stocking list for this tank, and currently fish are looking like: a clown pair (still deciding which type, leaning towards black and white designers of some sort), pink-streaked wrasse, green clown goby, yellow watchman goby and pistol shrimp, and a tailspot blenny. :)
 
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Aquarium stand update!

We're almost done with the stand—only the sides are left to finish staining and then a top coat to waterproof it all. Each day I'm getting closer to having water in the tank. All of the equipment and accessories for my BioCube 32g have come in, so now we're just waiting for the stand to get finished and then we can start building the aquascape!

I love how this teal stain looks! It's very ocean-esque. In the right-hand image below, the piece of wood closest to the bottom right corner of the image is going to be the cabinet door. It is actually a recycled piece of wood from the top to my previous stand for my Fluval Evo 13.5g. It had a bit of varnish left on it which made the stain stick a little differently, but I think the texture is really awesome because of it.

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Zoe’s Reef

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WE'VE GOT WATER!

I am so happy to finally say that we have water in the tank! My BioCube 32g is finally on it's way to being cycled, and hopefully it goes as smoothly and as quickly as possible. I know a longer cycle can be better for tank maturity, but it sure is hard having the patience for it!

I used just under 40 lbs. of Caribsea Fuji Pink live sand, about 25 lbs. of dry rock, and the tank took about 24 gallons of water to fill once that was all in there. The sand bed is approximately 2 inches deep, and I chose that depth since I know that I will be adding a goby and pistol shrimp pair at some point.

This was my first time building an aquascape with dry rock, and I have to say I'm pretty proud with how it turned out! I used Seachem's CoralCrete epoxy to hold the rocks together. There are a bunch of tunnels, caves, and hiding spaces for different creatures, which is something that I completely missed with my previous tank so I'm pretty excited to see how the ecosystem develops. I wasn't so sure about the shelf rock being on top like that, but after testing how an overhead light cast shadows on the rock structure I'm convinced that there will be plenty of room and light for softies (this tank will primarily be a softie tank).

And, I used our RO/DI system and mixed my own saltwater for the first time! I went with the RO Buddie, and I filled up 4 gallon buckets until I had enough water for the tank. It took about 1 hour and 30 minutes to make 4 gallons of water. I then added Tropic Marin Pro-Reef sea salt to the water with a powerhead. I found that it took a bit more salt to achieve a salinity of 1.026, and I used 2 and 1/4 cups of salt per 4 gallons of water.

That's all for today! I'll keep you updated, and probably write some more about cycling (I'm using Dr. Tim's One and Only) in my next post. Happy reefing!

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Image from iOS (1).jpg
Image from iOS (2).jpg
 
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Zoe’s Reef

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Cycling update!

Cycling is currently underway for my BioCube 32g! Last time I started a tank (my Fluval Evo 13.5g), I started with both live rock and live sand. This time, to avoid unwanted hitchhikers (which I got a ton of last time), I'm starting with dry rock and live sand. Dry rock takes longer to cycle a tank than live rock, so with that in mind I decided to use DrTim's One and Only Live Nitrifying Bacteria to help jumpstart the cycle.

DrTim's One and Only says that it can cycle a tank in as little as 8 days, so fingers crossed it works for me! You add the entire bottle of live bacteria to your tank the first day, then alternate with water testing and adding DrTim's Ammonium Chloride to the tank, to feed the bacteria. The kit actually comes with step-by-step instructions for the first 14 days, and they're pretty easy to follow.

Right now, my only concern is what will happen if my tank is not done cycling in those 14 days---which is likely, considering that I'm starting with dry rock. I'm thinking it'll take closer to 1-2 months, but then again I've never started with DrTim's before. So, if the tank isn't cycled at 14 days, I'll have to do some research on what to do next. Do I keep feeding the tank the same amount of ammonium chloride until I get readings of zero ammonia and zero nitrite? Is there a point that I should give my tank another bottle of One and Only? How long did DrTim's One and Only take to cycle your tank? If anyone has answers or advice, please let me know!

Here is what my cycling has looked like so far:
9/10 Day 1: Added bacteria and ammonia drops
9/11 Day 2: pH = 8.23, NH3 = 0.25, NO2 = 0.1
9/12 Day 3: Added ammonia drops
9/13 Day 4: pH = 8.15, NH3 = 1.5, NO2 = 0.2
 

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Once your tank is processing ammonia back down to zero in a fairly quick manner you should be good to go. Dr Tim's type stuff should be good to go just as the directions on the bottle describe.

Dry rock takes much longer to mature but should have enough bacteria to be cycled in a couple of weeks. Take it slow with fish additions and you should be golden
 

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Cycling update!

Cycling is currently underway for my BioCube 32g! Last time I started a tank (my Fluval Evo 13.5g), I started with both live rock and live sand. This time, to avoid unwanted hitchhikers (which I got a ton of last time), I'm starting with dry rock and live sand. Dry rock takes longer to cycle a tank than live rock, so with that in mind I decided to use DrTim's One and Only Live Nitrifying Bacteria to help jumpstart the cycle.

DrTim's One and Only says that it can cycle a tank in as little as 8 days, so fingers crossed it works for me! You add the entire bottle of live bacteria to your tank the first day, then alternate with water testing and adding DrTim's Ammonium Chloride to the tank, to feed the bacteria. The kit actually comes with step-by-step instructions for the first 14 days, and they're pretty easy to follow.

Right now, my only concern is what will happen if my tank is not done cycling in those 14 days---which is likely, considering that I'm starting with dry rock. I'm thinking it'll take closer to 1-2 months, but then again I've never started with DrTim's before. So, if the tank isn't cycled at 14 days, I'll have to do some research on what to do next. Do I keep feeding the tank the same amount of ammonium chloride until I get readings of zero ammonia and zero nitrite? Is there a point that I should give my tank another bottle of One and Only? How long did DrTim's One and Only take to cycle your tank? If anyone has answers or advice, please let me know!

Here is what my cycling has looked like so far:
9/10 Day 1: Added bacteria and ammonia drops
9/11 Day 2: pH = 8.23, NH3 = 0.25, NO2 = 0.1
9/12 Day 3: Added ammonia drops
9/13 Day 4: pH = 8.15, NH3 = 1.5, NO2 = 0.2

Congrats on the new system!
 
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Zoe’s Reef

Zoe’s Reef

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Once your tank is processing ammonia back down to zero in a fairly quick manner you should be good to go. Dr Tim's type stuff should be good to go just as the directions on the bottle describe.

Dry rock takes much longer to mature but should have enough bacteria to be cycled in a couple of weeks. Take it slow with fish additions and you should be golden

Thank you for responding! I suppose I'm confused then. Could you please explain the difference between matured rock and a cycled tank? Does mature just mean that it's a good environment for coralline and such?
 
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Let's talk filtration!

Okay, so while we're waiting for my BioCube 32g to cycle (see bottom of post for updated levels), I wanted to fill you all in on the filtration that I'm planning on using! Currently for cycling, I'm just running Seachem Bio Matrix as my bio media. This stuff stays in the tank for the tank's entire life, so it's important to have it in during cycling. Basically it's going to act as a home for all the beneficial bacteria to live in and process ammonia. I actually just found out that sometimes when reefers are upgrading their tank to a larger size, they'll remove their bio media from the old tank and put it in their new tank to get a jumpstart on cycling. This wasn't exactly an option for me since my previous tank crashed (RIP Fluval Evo 13.5), but it is definitely something to keep in mind for the future.

Once my tank is cycled, I plan on running the following filtration (listed from top to bottom of the media basket):
- Filter Floss
- Purigen
- ChemiPure Elite
- Matrix

I'm curious---if you're reading this and have a BioCube 32g, what are you running for filtration?

Cycling Update:
9/10 Day 1: Added DrTim's One and Only bacteria and ammonia drops
9/11 Day 2: pH = 8.23, NH3 = 0.25, NO2 = 0.1
9/12 Day 3: Added ammonia drops
9/13 Day 4: pH = 8.15, NH3 = 1.5, NO2 = 0.2
9/14 Day 5: pH = 8.2, NH3 = 1.4, NO2 = 0.4
9/15 Day 6: Added ammonia drops

Image from iOS.jpg
 
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Zoe’s Reef

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AIO TANK BUILD!

As my BioCube 32g is getting closer to being cycled, I figured that now would be a good time to go through my tank 'build' and break down my filtration, mods, etc. for you. I'm going to go through EVERYTHING, so bare with me...

Tank: Coralife BioCube 32g
Stand: Custom stand (I'll talk about it more in a later post!)
Lights: Stock
Pump: Stock
Heater: Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm 150W

Sand: Caribsea Fuji Pink
Rock: Dry Rock, attached together with Seachem CoralCrete epoxy putty
Water: RO/DI mixed with Tropic Marin Pro Reef Sea Salt
RO Unit: 50 GPD 4-Stage RO Buddie Reverse Osmosis/Deionization System

Hydor FLO Rotating Water Deflector
inTank Media Basket
inTank Fuge Basket (for later on when I add chaeto)
inTank Fish Saver Guard

In the inTank Media Basket, I'll be running:
inTank Bonded Poly Filter Floss
Seachem Purigen
ChemiPure Elite
Seachem Matrix High Capacity Biofiltration Media

I also removed the stock sponge in between the pump and media basket chambers, which will remain empty until I add chaeto. At that point, I'll probably use a piece of filter floss down there.

Cycling Update:
9/10 Day 1: Added DrTim's One and Only bacteria and ammonia drops
9/11 Day 2: pH = 8.23, NH3 = 0.25, NO2 = 0.1
9/12 Day 3: Added ammonia drops
9/13 Day 4: pH = 8.15, NH3 = 1.5, NO2 = 0.2
9/14 Day 5: pH = 8.2, NH3 = 1.4, NO2 = 0.4
9/15 Day 6: Added ammonia drops
9/16 Day 7: pH = 8.15, NH3 = 1.5, NO2 = 0.4
9/17 Day 8: pH = 8.0, NH3 = 0.5, NO2 = 0.3
9/18 Day 9: Out of town
9/19 Day 10: Out of town
9/20 Day 11: Out of town
9/21 Day 12: pH = 8.15, NH3 = 0.2, NO2 = 0.2, NO3 = 100 (which may be an incorrect nitrate reading due to user error)
9/22 Day 13: pH = 8.15, NH3 = <0.15, NO2 = 0.2, NO3 = 100, KH = 6.1, PO4 = 0, Ca = 470

Image from iOS.jpg
 
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Zoe’s Reef

Zoe’s Reef

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IMPULSE BUY!

This isn't a BioCube update, but I figured that I might as well share!

I might have done an impluse buy today... but come on, it has a sump in the drawer! I see a pico saltwater invert tank in my future.

1601487981883.png


BioCube 32g Cycling Update:
9/10 Day 1: Added DrTim's One and Only bacteria and ammonia drops
9/11 Day 2: pH = 8.23, NH3 = 0.25, NO2 = 0.1
9/12 Day 3: Added ammonia drops
9/13 Day 4: pH = 8.15, NH3 = 1.5, NO2 = 0.2
9/14 Day 5: pH = 8.2, NH3 = 1.4, NO2 = 0.4
9/15 Day 6: Added ammonia drops
9/16 Day 7: pH = 8.15, NH3 = 1.5, NO2 = 0.4
9/17 Day 8: pH = 8.0, NH3 = 0.5, NO2 = 0.3
9/18 Day 9: Out of town
9/19 Day 10: Out of town
9/20 Day 11: Out of town
9/21 Day 12: pH = 8.15, NH3 = 0.2, NO2 = 0.2, NO3 = 100 (which may be an incorrect nitrate reading due to user error)
9/22 Day 13: pH = 8.15, NH3 = <0.15, NO2 = 0.2, NO3 = 100, KH = 6.1, PO4 = 0, Ca = 470
9/23 Day 14: First water change, 20%
9/24 Day 15: pH = 8.3, NH3 = <0.15, NO2 = 1, NO3 = 100, KH = 7
9/25 Day 16: pH = 8.15, NH3 = <0.15, NO2 = 0.4, NO3 = 50, KH = 6.7
9/26 Day 17: pH = 8.15, NH3 = 0, NO2 = 0, NO3 = 50, KH = 7
9/27 Day 18: pH = 8.15, NH3 = <0.15, NO2 = 0.4, NO3 = 25, KH = 7
9/28 Day 19: pH = 8.15, NH3 = 0.25, NO2 = 0.1, NO3 = 25, KH = 7
9/29 Day 20: Second water change, 30%
 
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